Blockbuster Looking to Fill By-Mail Void With Free DVD Movies30 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
With Netflix pushing streaming, Blockbuster looks to tap lucrative by-mail rental market
Blockbuster LLC may be downsizing its retail footprint, but the rental icon has upped marketing efforts to lure by-mail disc subscribers as well as transactional video-on-demand usage at Blockbuster On Demand.
Dallas-based Blockbuster Online is sending mailers with a free DVD movie to consumers who frequented recently shuttered stores and/or were members of the chain’s in-store Blue Ticket loyalty program, or Blockbuster Online.
Blockbuster operates about 500 stores nationwide — a third of the retail footprint when Dish Network acquired it out of bankruptcy in 2011.
One mailer contained the 2010 movie, Leap Year, starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, with the message: “We hope you enjoy this movie. You don’t have to return it, but we’d appreciate it if you would.”
Blockbuster By Mail claims access to 100,000 titles, which can be managed via Android and Apple iOS apps, as well online.
The site is offering three months of rentals for the price of one, or $9.99 for one disc or video game out at a time for three months; $14.99 for two discs or games out at a time for three months; and $19.99 for three discs or games out at a time for three months.
The push to expand by-mail rental is underscored by the fact that Netflix generated about 68% ($113 million) of its contribution margin from disc rentals in the most recent fiscal quarter. Netflix ended the period with 8 million disc subscribers, while Blockbuster has less 1 million.
Blockbuster said most new releases are available 28 days ahead of Netflix by-mail and Redbox — the latter upping street date availability on select titles through its recently launched Redbox Instant by Verizon platform.
Separately, Blockbuster Mobile is offering six months of free by-mail movie rentals with the purchase of a smartphone and two-year user agreement. Participating telco services include T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, Boost, TracFone and Virgin Mobile.
Blockbuster parent Dish Network reports first-quarter fiscal results May 9.